Party leaders prepare for Newstalk/TV3 debate

Enda Kenny says the debate is an opportunity to outline plans

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Tanaiste and Labour Leader Joan Burton TD, Deputy Ciara Conway and Abi Boxshall (2) from Lucan at Labour Head Office. Photo: RollingNews.ie

The party leaders cut short their tours of the country this afternoon to prepare for the first leaders debate of the election tonight.

The Labour leader Joan Burton has been under particular fire after a poll this morning suggests she will lose her seat.

The Millward Brown/Irish Independent survey shows Ms Burton faces a battle to keep her seat in Dublin West.

Michael Martin has said the prospect of her deputy leader Alan Kelly as Tánaiste does not seem an easy prospect

Mr Kelly and Minister Jan O'Sullivan refused to say the would be interested in the job - and defended their leader.

It is an issue likely to be brought up in this evening's leaders debate hosted by Newstalk and TV3.

While Taoiseach Enda Kenny has branded Ms Burton 'a fighter'.

On tonight's debate, Mr Kenny says it is not a fight, but a chance to lay out his stall.

Fianna Fail will introduce a €2,000 tax credit to deal with childcare costs if returned to power.

The party will also abolish Irish Water and fund the construction of 150,000 houses between now and 2021.

The party unveiled a range of measures at its Party Manifesto launch this morning, including an increase in the old age pension by €30 per week and give an extra €10 per month for child benefit.

On the issue of childcare, Micheal Martin accepted that a €2,000 tax credit is low.

And Labour have launched their policy on housing, promising to build 44,000 social housing units.

It includes a save to buy scheme that would see the government provide a top up of €1 for every €4 people saved.

There is also €35m allocated to tackle long-term homelessness.

Minister Jan O'Sullivan says it's a slow process, but a lot of work has been done in the housing sector.

Live from @ElectionNT